Matthaus believes that Lewandowski deserves to win the Ballon d'Or due to his great form across the last two seasons. The 60-year-old has admitted this year's race is closer but Lewandowski is still his favorite.
Speaking to Spanish broadcaster #Vamos (via AS), Matthaus said:
"I want [Lewandowski] to win the Ballon d'Or because he already deserved it last year. This year is closer, but he is my favorite."
“Benzema has had a great season, but he has not won any title," he added. "He was knocked out of the Euros with France and he hasn’t been champion with [Real] Madrid in Spain.”
Robert Lewandowski has been in scintillating form for more than two seasons now. The 33-year-old forward scored 55 goals in 47 appearances during the 2019-20 season, helping Bayern Munich win the treble. Despite deserving the Ballon d'Or in 2020, the award ceremony was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Lewandowski, however, has continued his rich form from two seasons ago. The Polish forward went on to score 48 goals last season, and has already netted 23 times in 17 appearances this season.
It is also worth noting that Lothar Matthaus is himself a recipient of the Ballon d'Or. The former German international won the award back in 1990 after guiding West Germany to the 1990 World Cup win over Argentina.
Despite being one of the biggest clubs in Europe, Bayern Munich haven't had a Ballon d'Or winner since Karl-Heinz Rummenigge won the award way back in 1981.
The 2021 Ballon d'Or will be a closely-fought affair
The 2021 Ballon d'Or is set to be one of the closest fights for the award in recent years. Many players are deemed favorites for the award, including the likes of Lionel Messi, Robert Lewandowski, Jorginho and Karim Benzema.
All four aforementioned players have had stellar performances across the past few months. Lionel Messi guided Argentina to their first Copa America triumph in 28 years while Jorginho was exceptional for both club and country across the 2020-21 season.
The 29-year-old midfielder guided Chelsea to the Champions League title before helping Italy win Euro 2020 against home favorites England.
Other candidates for the award include Mohamed Salah, Cristiano Ronaldo and N'Golo Kante.
The 2021 Ballon d'Or ceremony will take place in Paris on the 29th of November.